County commissioners brush off Assessor’s request for temporary staffing help

Kaegi’s office expects a “high volume of taxpayers” calling with questions about their property tax assessments this summer, an official said

Jun.June 20, 2019 12:00 PM
Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin and Chicago's City Hall and County Building

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin and Chicago’s City Hall and County Building

Cook County commissioners rebuffed a request from Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi’s office for temporary staff to help answer phones this summer.

Chief deputy assessor Sarah Garza Resnick wrote a letter to commissioners asking for “the assistance of as many of your staff that you can spare” to address a “high volume of taxpayers” expected to call with questions on their assessments, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Commissioner Bridget Gainer called the request “totally legitimate,” but two others, Larry Suffredin and Kevin Morrison, said it would not be appropriate to send their own employees to cover for another office. Another commissioner requested anonymity to tell the newspaper they were “aghast” at the idea.

Last month, Kaegi requested more permanent employees after an independent audit found the office keeps a fraction of the staff needed to value the county’s nearly 2 million parcels.

Kaegi assumed office in December proposing a new assessment formula to replace the controversial method used by his predecessor, Joe Berrios. The first round of assessments released in the northern suburbs led to sharply higher assessments for some apartment buildings.

The assessor proposed a bill in Springfield this spring that would require large property owners to report income data to assessors, but the measure never made it to the floor of the Illinois House.

[Chicago Sun-Times] — Alex Nitkin


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